Perspectives: Glasses research confirms stereotypes

UW-Green Bay senior Miranda DeMars hesitated between the decision to wear glasses or contact lenses for a job interview. That hesitation became the impetus for research she will present at the Midwestern Psychological Association convention in Chicago, Thursday, May 2.

The Peshtigo native will be presenting “First Impressions: Do Glasses Matter?” centered on the idea that people are judged in regards to intelligence and other characteristics based upon wearing glasses.

DeMars and her team members, junior Amanda Novak and senior Amy Vaughn, divided 49 participants into two groups, one with glasses and one without. From there participants responded to whom looked the most intelligent, trustworthy and attractive. Their results showed, in general, people find those who wear glasses to be more trustworthy and intelligent while those who do not wear glasses were found to be more attractive.

“The coolest part about the entire project is that this started with simple curiosity and we watched big ideas, small details, and hard work, turn into physical evidence,” DeMars said.

She believes it is the first time research of this kind, on this subject, has been conducted by college students in the U.S.

DeMars explained that group work is a bit of a challenge for “naturally independent” people such as herself, but that the three researchers complimented each other playing off of each others’ strengths and weaknesses for the best possible outcome. She described the experience as “a huge growth opportunity, especially in regards to leadership skills such as communication and decision making.” She also credited UW-Green Bay Psychology and Human Development Professor Jennifer Lanter as an “incredible asset, support system, and motivator.“

DeMars will graduate in December of 2013 and plans to pursue a master’s degree in higher education administration or college student personnel.

“I want to help facilitate a positive environment for college students to grow personally while achieving their academic goals. That positive environment helped me at UW-Green Bay and I know that the faculty and staff genuinely care about me and my well-being. I want to be able to do the same for others one day,” she said.
Story by Tayler Zajac, editorial intern, Marketing and University Communication.
Photo by Holly Williams, photo intern, Marketing and University Communication.